Hercules Conquering Cacus


Albrecht Dürer ( German, 1471 - 1528 )

c. 1496
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General Description

This energetic composition is one of Albrecht Dürer's earliest independent woodcuts. Its subject is inscribed on the scroll shown on the upper edge, "Ercules." Cacus was a fierce warrior who robbed Hercules of cattle while he slept. Once Hercules discovered his loss, he tracked the thief Cacus to his lair and slew him. The young woman represents Cacus's sister, who betrayed her brother to Hercules; thus guilty of fratricide, she is shown being pursued by an avenging Fury.

Excerpt from

Carl Wuellner, DMA Label copy, December 2003.

Web Resources

  • Inside Albrecht Dürer's Studio-Woodcut
    Watch this demonstration and explanation of the woodcut process created by the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute for the exhibition, The Strange World of Albrecht Dürer (November 14, 2010- March 13, 2011).